Holliday Water won’t have to fluoridate its supply — at least for now.
Under a recent decision by the Utah Supreme Court, the water company will not have to fluoridate its supply, despite a 2000 Salt Lake County ordinance that requires fluoridation. The company argued that as a private corporation, it was exempt.
Holliday shareholders voted not to comply with the ordinance when it was introduced, said manager Marlin Sundberg. The company is run like a co-op, with all customers having a share in the system. Voters rejected fluoridation on two separate votes, each with more than 70 percent of shareholders voting against.
“We felt we had to honor the wishes of our shareholders,” Sundberg said.
The Utah Legislature agreed, enacting a law in 2009 that exempts “corporate public water systems” from having to comply with the ordinance.
The question is now whether the water company has a contractual obligation — in place before the law changed — to fluoridate its water. That question is currently pending in 3rd District Court.
Salt Lake County firmly believes Holliday is required to comply, based on the county ordinance, said Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake Valley Health Department. There is no state statute mandating fluoridation, but if the judge determines there is a contractual obligation, Holliday would need to fluoridate.
The county believes the matter is an important question of public health. “Fluoridation has been proven by numerous groups to have positive dental health benefits,” Edwards said.